McDonnell trial begins Monday with jury selection

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jul 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-28 00:38:08-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- After over a year of investigation, speculation, indictment and denial -- the trial of former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, begins Monday at 10 a.m. in Richmond Federal Court.

It will be the first time a Virginia Governor is on trial for criminal charges.

Ten days after he left office in January, the McDonnells were indicted on 14 counts. Most of the charges allege that in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts, they used their position to improve the company of the donor Jonnie Williams.

First on the to-do list Monday: jury selection.

Around 150 potential jurors will be in court with the McDonnells as both sides attempt to pick their ideal jury. Judge James Spencer, a veteran of the court with a reputation for no nonsense, will preside.

The clerks office tells CBS 6 that the hope is to complete jury selection in one day.

However, CBS 6 legal analyst Todd Stone said it won't be easy.

"The have got to find folks - not who have never heard about the case or that they don't know who they are - but they just got to find people who will be fair and impartial," Stone said.

The trial could last up to six weeks with family members, friends and former employees all expected to testify.

Critical testimony for the government is expected to come from the prosecution's star witness Jonnie Williams. The most critical testimony by the defense will most likely be that of Bob McDonnell himself if he chooses to testify.

Speculation is that several current and former politicians may testify on the McDonnell's behalf. McDonnell's former chief of staff, secretary of health, and communications director have all been subpoenaed.

Rumors are swirling that Mitt Romney could take the stand after the McDonnell lawyers requested a subpoena for an "out of state public official."

Romney, who appeared at a fundraiser in Virginia last month in which Bob McDonnell attended, donated $10,000 to the McDonnell defense team in April.

CBS 6 reporter Joe St. George will be in court beginning Monday at 8 a.m. Stay with CBS 6 News and for complete coverage of this developing story.